How to Order & Compare Numbers to 999,999,999: Lesson for Kids

Lesson Transcript
Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

Expert Contributor
Elaine Chan

Dr. Chan has taught computer and college level physics, chemistry, and math for over eight years. Dr. Chan has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from U. C. Berkeley, an M.S. Physics plus 19 graduate Applied Math credits from UW, and an A.B. with honors from U.C .Berkeley in Physics.

When you are working with numbers, it's important to be able to compare the value of two or more numbers. In this lesson, you will learn how to order and compare numbers by using the terms greater than, less than, and equal to. Updated: 11/12/2020

Comparing and Ordering

Do you want to visit the candy factory in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Just imagine all the free candy, the chocolate river, and those cheery Oompa Loompas. People who run candy factories often have to compare numbers to see what candies are the most popular.

You can compare any group of numbers, including candy sales, by using three different terms. Each of these terms comes with a special symbol:

  • The symbol > means greater than
    • 35 lollipops > 4 chocolates
  • The symbol < means less than
    • 5 hard candies < 24 gumdrops
  • The symbol = means equal to
    • 18 candy bars = 18 pieces of licorice

Let's imagine that we sold all of those candies. If we made a list of the candy sales in order from the smallest amount sold to the biggest amount sold, it would look like this:

4 chocolates, 5 hard candies, 18 candy bars, 18 pieces of licorice, 24 gumdrops, 35 lollipops
4, 5, 18, 18, 24, 35

These are pretty small numbers. Let's explore how to compare and order larger numbers.

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  • 0:04 Comparing and Ordering
  • 1:23 Count the Digits
  • 2:59 Compare Place Values
  • 5:04 Lesson Summary
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Count the Digits

When comparing two or more numbers, you should first count the number of digits in each number.

Whole numbers with more digits in them are greater than numbers with fewer digits. This is because the more digits a whole number has, the more place values it includes and the larger the number becomes.

Look at the example of the total candies sold by the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory this year.


Let's find the least popular candy by looking for the number with the least amount of digits.

Our chart says that 146 lollipops were sold. This number is 3 digits long and the other numbers have more digits, so this is our smallest number. Its largest number is in the hundreds place.

The next most popular seller is rock candy, with 23,504. This number has 5 digits, with the highest place value being the ten thousands.

Finally, the most popular seller and greatest number is gummy worms at 458,605,495. This number has 9 digits, with the highest place value being the hundred millions.

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Additional Activities

Practice Comparing Numbers

After such a great lesson on comparing numbers, let us practice by choosing the correct answers to questions involving comparing numbers.

Question 1:

Which numbers are greater than 999?

(a) 1000 (b) 9999 (c) 99999 (d) 999999

Answer 1:

All are greater, (a), (b), (c), and (d)

Question 2:

Which numbers are less than 999?

(a) 998 (b) 9 (c) 75 (d) 1000

Answer 2:

(a), (b), and (c) are less

Arranging a series of numbers in ascending order is a sequence of numbers so that the one to the left is less than the one to its right. For example, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 are in ascending order. So is the sequence 1, 3, 5, 9

Question 3:

Which of these sequences of numbers are arranged in ascending order?

(a) 1, 3, 5, 9 (b) 2, 4, 6, 22 (c) 1, 4, 88, 999 (d) 9, 99, 999, 99999

Answer 3:

All are in ascending order, (a), (b), (c), and (d)

Question 4:

Can you place the numbers, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 in ascending order?

(a) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (b) 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (c) 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (d) 3, 5, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9

Answer 4:


Question 5:

Can you place the numbers, 3, 5, 4, 6, 8, 7, 9 in ascending order?

(a) 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,8,9 (b) 3, 5, 4, 6, 8, 7, 9 (c) 2, 3, 5, 4, 6, 8, 7, 9 (d) 3, 5, 4, 6, 8, 7, 9, 10

Answer 5:


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